tv Admiral John Richardson Briefs Reporters on Farsi Island Investigation CSPAN July 1, 2016 12:40am-1:15am EDT
>> good morning everyone. today we have chief of naval operations admiral john richardson and his deputy for operations plans and strategy vice admiral chris aquino here to discuss the results of the investigation into the detention of 10 the u.s. navy sailors by iranian naval forces this year. you all should have a handout that depicts the timeline of events and the intended and actual route taken by the vote. they will review what happened that day the findings of the investigation and any corrective action taken in the mu opened up for questions on the investigation and if time permits we can cover some other topics. we will have about 30 minutes. >> is there a question on the handouts? >> the question is where are
they? [laughter] good morning everybody and thank you for being here. as dot announce we are releasing the results of the investigation to the seizure of two rivering command votes on 12 january this year by iranian forces in the vicinity of for-sale and emby detention of 12 sailors. the goal of this investigation was to conduct a thorough review of what u.s. navy actions may have contributed to this instance. we conducted these investigations to learn what we can in order to prevent similar events from occurring and where necessary to hold people, both where they failed to follow up with procedures amid expectations. therefore get into the additional details i want to address the question of international law as i have said before these two boats and his crewmembers had every right to be where they were on that day. investigation concluded iran violated international law by impeding the passage transit and violated sour community vibe
orting searching the votes and photographing and videotaping the crew. having said that the bulk of the investigation concentrated on our lessons learned and corrective actions to prevent this from occurring in the future and with respect to their review of the actions the investigation looked in depth at vote chains of command so just to set the scene here there are two chains of command that are operative. one is the chain of command here in the united states that is responsible for manning and training and equipping these units, preparing them in certifying them for deployment and then when we go over a chopper report to the fleet commander of the task force commander in the theater and they run their operations and the crews report to them on the theater so we have investigated both changed -- chains of command.
we began the investigation with the operational chain of command so as soon as the incident the incident had been completed the commander of the u.s. fifth fleet appointed an investigating operator to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident during the review of the investigation the vice chief of naval operations appointed the deputy commander of fleet forces command in norfolk to conduct a supplemental inquiry to focus on command and control at all levels including the fifth fleet and a formal legal opinion from the judge advocate general on u.s.-iranian compliance with international law. the ig expanded the investigation scope to include our four-star fleet commanders in the united states, the pacific fleet commander and commander fleet force admiral davidson to ensure a all pre-deployment preparation and training were dressed.
the command investigation in the supplemental inquiries ensured that we had a complete and objective examination of the incident from the riverine boat cruise through the fleet commander as well as the operational chain of command as well as the chain of command that prepares them to deploy. investigation review seven areas of manning training material readiness command and control adherence to procedures while in theater the rules of engagement and the code of conduct and international law. and admiral aquino will talk about the actions underway. in recent testimony my conversations with you and our intent today is to be as open and transparent as possible and hopefully you have had the opportunity to review the dock and patiently a party distributed and we can address
any additional questions you may have at the end of the brief. today though we have to be careful about covering specific accountability actions. that process is conducted separately and i know you are familiar with that and together we can bias the actions in any way so we will not be commenting on the specifics of those proceedings. with that as an opening to walk you through the details of the investigation and the corrective actions i will turn the podium over to vice admiral aquino my deputy for operations plans and strategies. >> thank you and good morning. i like to provide an overview of the incident itself and talk about the issues revealed by the investigation in the corrective actions to ensure this event is not repeated. for reference today all times identified will be in bahrain local time. coastal riverine costa three deployed to the fifth fleet
operations in august of 2015. the riverine command boats operate from bahrain and conduct escort of high-value assets and out of port as their primary mission. in october of 2015 come in the three boats deployed from bahrain to equate -- kuwait. on january 11, 2162 of the boats were directed to transmit from bahrain in support of the mission past the central arabian gulf. normally the riverine boats operated a minimum of payers for mutual support. they plan to follow a standard navigation route used routinely between kuwait and bahrain. because of the distance the boats plan to meet up with another ship or refueling midway through the transit. on 12 january 2 host the party kuwait on a two and 59. ♪ mile transit to bahrain the longest the crew had ever executed. the boats departed four hours
later than planned and immediately deviated from their planned route in an attempt to make up time. the cruise deviation caused them to transit unknowingly through saudi arabia and territorial seas and then through iranian territorial seas off the coast of farsi island. approximately a mile and a half south of the farsi island one of the two boats suffered an engine problem. that was at 4:11 p.m.. both boats stopped one to conduct engine repairs in the second book to provide support. at 4:20 to iranian revolutionary guard corps and our gcn patrol craft approached at high-speed with weapons uncovered. the u.s. crews attempted to communicate with the every man's informing them they had an engine issue. shortly thereafter the engine was repaired and the crews
attempted to evade. one of the bose was physically block preventing it from departing the area went to larger irgc officials -- bezels arrived at u.s. boats assessing there were overmatched rodent or stew repositioned to farsi island where the crews were held overnight and interrogated. after learning the crews were detained the fifth fleet commander directed a robust military response and search-and-rescue effort. as a result of these efforts and diplomatic because she asian's the crews were released the next morning. describe early the investigation revealed seven focus areas and the cno has addressed international law but i will not describe the conclusions reached by the investigators regarding the remaining six areas as well as the corrective actions taken or are currently in progress. some of those corrective actions are in the operational chain of command under fifth fleet while
others are in the ministry to chain of command as the cno described under the direction of the naval expeditionary combat command or necc. for manning the report validated the squadron was adequately manned when they deployed to the fifth fleet in august of 2015 and no corrective actions were anticipated with regard to manning. the report validated that pre-deployment training and certification was adequate and appropriate for the missions expected to be assigned. however the investigation found that once deployed sustainment training including navigation weapons and rules of engagement training was not good. operational the fit feet commander conducted reviews of the programs and provided additional training personnel in theater since the incident. to address this administrative
chain has made a number of changes to the training program. this includes navigation training improvements operational risk management and increased simulator training in support of this effort. additionally there are actions that are ongoing not yet completed that are in the works. monthly training assessment of in theater forces is in development. the enhancement of preemployment training to more closely align with the missions assigned is in work and greater fleet training certification requirements are in place. under material readiness material readiness with the squadron declined during the planet due to lack of command involvement and oversight as stated in the report. of note the boats were inspected during the turnover in august when this unit arrived in the boats were found to be in good condition. the report found that degraded
during her time in kuwait. in response to these findings formalize requirements for material readiness programs have been implemented and no notice inspections for all the plague units have been implemented. command and control the investigation found the lack of leadership at disregard for risk management, processes and proper mission planning standards. one important note that the investigation stated was that if the guidance provided at the fifth fleet commander hadn't followed this event could have been prevented. a lack of leadership for geographically distributed forces resulted in degraded maintenance and declining standards and investigation found poor coordinating communication between units and the operations centers that
oversee these events. fifthly -- the fifth fleet has refocused the training and leadership towards maritime operation centers that it supports. an ongoing actions include the revision of the fifth fleet operations order which governs riverine command boat operations and includes over watch procedures. greater oversight and leadership involvement for geographically distributed forces are in place and those that address the deficiencies as outlined. for procedural adherence the investigation states leadership did not enforce proper navigation practices. no preparation of a concept of operations briefing was developed, lacking communication plan commission pre-briefs and weapons postures have all been addressed.
specifically once underway the boats crews failed to report deviation from their planned route, unexpected landside things or the engine casualties that require them to stop. in order to prevent recurrence the fifth fleet has directed indoctrination and assessment period for all forces going into theater. naval expeditionary command is implemented or more requirements for commanders and units to continually personally update the readiness of their forces and institute formal reports back to headquarters. under rules of engagement investigation determined that the rules of engagement and place are adequate but may not have been understood by the crews. the investigation also found that some crewmembers did not meet of code of conduct standards while in custody. in addition to the changes to
the trading programs described the command has increased the training required and added in person survival evasion resistance and escape training for all coastal riverine forces. and completion investigation looked at seven areas of concern that the navy is taking actions at all level of the chain of command to address those deficiencies to ensure this event will not happen again. cno, thanks for the time. >> thanks avril aquino. let me conclude by saying that across the navy and across the globe hundreds of commanding officers and hundreds of houses of u.s. sailors are making tough decisions and performing their duties in a way that should make every american proud and strike fear into anybody who would want to take us on. those sailors clearly know our actions on that day in january
and this incident did not live up to our expectations of our navy but we are a navy that learns in order to maintain the bonds of trust and confidence amongst ourselves and with the american people we have an obligation to continually examined our personal and professional conduct to ensure we always behave with integrity, with accountability initiative and toughness and with that i will take your questions. >> admiral a question. in your opening statement he mentioned i think you said it was the commander of the fifth fleet ordered a robot military response after this encounter. was that executed in any way but was that and a point about the failures of the code of conduct standards. with regard to the search-and-rescue effort that
was initiated the command of the fifth fleet pushed into the area of for sale and as well as a coast guard vessel that supported this event. they were alert launches from harry s. truman with f-18s to provide over watch as well as nontraditional isr in an attempt to build more information and lastly the combined air operations centers supported it with the launch of f-15s. >> that is what the middle -- military response amounted to. >> for the code of conduct the code of conduct is clearly utilized as a guideline for behavior in an instance where soldiers sailors airmen and marines might be in custody. the specific item that was of concern was the potential to
make statements that would harm or be disloyal to the united states. so that is the investigation found. spin we can be that specific am beyond that the details of that are part of the ongoing accountability review and the subject of further action on the part of admiral month -- at rome morneau. we will get you the exact quote out of the investigation but it is quoted. >> admiral good morning. daniel with "washington post." are there any that we don't know that have been made and from a timeline perspective where's the disciplinary process at this point? >> the task force commander for task force 56 the commanding
officer of the squadron of their riverine squadron has been released and the officer in charge of that attachment in kuwait of those to ploy there have been relieved. there are six other people that are in process right now and that is being handled by admiral morneau. spin it's an and jp process? if i read the investigation your comments correctly how is it that this is not the first incident of the last three years
of the last three months really am baffled bridge water what do you doing as a result? >> the necc the expeditionary combat command as part of this and other incidents was directed to review exactly this question to how are the forces being trained and evaluating whether that is their expected missions. we are looking hard at data we will make adjustments. >> two questions first on the code of conduct. the reports go into detail about one crewmember giving his password to his personal laptop and giving information about the boat in the speed and is this an isolated incident or have you seen other incidents where crewmembers may give to my jim from a when under interrogation?
>> we don't have a big sampling of that's so what we are doing is we are making sure that the training is as prototypical and relevant as possible so there is the code of conduct as it exists and we are working to ensure how that code of conduct can operate in foreseeable situations so sailors and all servicemembers have been as robust a training program that would be as realistic as possible to allow that so that is kind of the nature of the review that we are doing right now to make sure our training is as a bookable as possible. >> this is a man with a question on china actually. the chinese have said they're not going to abide either ruling by the international arbitration and could you give us details on what the u.s. could do?
>> we generally don't anticipate things like that so i don't want to get out in front of that. [inaudible] there is diplomatic redress and in europe or you say several times that the iranians seem to of violated articles 13 of the convention. where's the diplomatic response from the united states and where's that redress and is at the end of that? >> our investigation didn't investigate that so i want to confine our discussion today to what the investigation covered. >> but you are not aware of anything like that? unit to aegis came to talk about that. >> a little trouble on the code of conduct thing.
before we were deployed we had to go through training which included indoctrination. were these riverine guys and the necc people not given that training? >> there are different levels of senior training and the aviator exceeds the highest level. prior to the event the necc corer received a higher level and receive the exact same training that you mention. spin could include the code of conduct? >> direct code of conduct training but not to the level prior to this event that we would have wanted which is one of the results. >> for both a view did it surprise you how things went wrong and nobody stopped the particular patrol from going out and i have a couple of clear up herschensohn chain of command. >> i will tell you you are
around as long as we have been around tara and incidents like this are always the result of the accumulation of a number of small problems. it's the nature of these things and what we have to take aboard as a navy is that you never know how these things are going to combine. we have got to be absolutely diligent and this is the command's response ability that we identified and fixed problems were free to find them. we have to be extremely aggressive. when you start living with problems that this team in kuwait in particular started to do and you saw it in training and matériel you never know how these things will combine at the wrong moment and combined in a bigger incident like this. >> to follow-up the task force commander has been released, where is he innocent as he directly above.
>> he is right above the squadron commander for their riverine command boats. and just under the fifth fleet commander. >> is the squadron commander directly beneath him and has there have been any administrative penalty taken? >> that is why the commander was relieved of command. the squadron commander was really the command in his boss the task force commander was also relieved. >> were you disappointed that one of your officers the commanding officer apologize to the iranians and was filmed apologizing? >> to think those types of questions are not helpful in terms of getting us back on track in the navy to take action to prevent this from ever happening again so my personal feelings don't pertain to this. will this citraining material? >> absolutely this will be a case study going forward.
>> you can see that there are lessons that apply across art entire navy not just officers but this will be something we can mine for a lot of lessons. >> hope with military.com. in the investigation and talk about the moment that the iranian boats approached and of course many poor decisions had been made to get to that point e wrong to disobey the orders to accelerating getaway. is there a possibility of a military response? i'm curious once you're in that position but the correct action to be taken where rather than to surrender? >> clearly the main port of the investigation is you never want to to get her to herself into that position where you really have very few good choices.
there were no good choices and that's exactly how we train our navy to be. if you are in a situation you are ready overmatch anybody an execute our mission. that would be the emphasis that i would want to take away here. the particulars of what happened in the moment as i said are being considered as part of disciplinary procedures. i want to give you a sense of my feelings as to unduly influence those proceedings. >> two questions. one is when the art the pcs were coming down they were to dharun shored at any time during the spur for hours to the coasts guard communicate with that vessel and talk about their location and course? >> they did make the required
reports every 30 minutes. spirit did they can indicate their position? >> there position was communicated via synaptic indications went back to that person centers and investigation found that the operation centers did not properly plant or plot the track and keep the required oversight for where the boats were. >> you are in a dangerous position. spin one of the findings was that the aberson center which is a squadron function in a tossed worse function were also found to be deficient in terms of their understanding of the intended tracking and i were just at the coast guard vessel did come up on the line and say it looks like these -- they had contact on them it looked like their riverine boats were off track and in iranian waters as well so the coast guard was
aware of their position and did report that in. >> i know the coast guard prides itself on seamanship the navigation. >> weed you too chris. this is an exception. >> have our cb prospect in operating around for sea island and the persian gulf? >> at this point they have operated out of bahrain but that's not a function of this event. there has been no mission requirement. >> just to clarify the only equipment failure was the engine. there were no communication failures and equipment is working the entire time? thank you was issuing on the plus with communication gear. one of the boats was unable to establish encrypted communications over the horizon
that headquarters. the other communications equipment was working fine. >> can you say which ones had the issue? was at with the one with the engine failure as well? >> let me get back to you on that. i know you don't want to get to part in your own personal opinion that we have images of sailors said gum point broadcast all over the world. >> is obviously to be determined that we will take that as an earlier question highlighted and make sure with we learn every possible is not of this and we will make it vividly clear to the united states navy what is the expected standard and how to achieve that standard. >> do you have time for one more? >> have you spoken with their
iranian counterparts and voiced your displeasure with the event? >> no. >> as anyone? >> i have secretary kerry reaching out to the state department. tonight we made our views clear in forums like this but in terms of direct mitigation i'm not aware of anything beyond what secretary kerry did. >> the captains of those boats are they still waiting whatever punitive decisions might be. >> yes, they are. >> okay, thank you very much. >> thanks.
you have to wake up and go to sleep and think i want this so much, if you do everything you win except for ben johnson. the supreme court term ended monday with decisions on abortion gun control and public corruption. next constitutional lawyers and supreme court experts discuss the big decisions and surprises for this term. this 90 minute event was hosted by the american constitution society in washington d.c.. >> good afternoon everybody. i would like to welcome